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Obstructive Sleep Apnea: More Than A Bad Night’s Sleep
Clinical Diagnosis: Obstructive Sleep Apnea
GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly starts and stops due to upper airway obstruction (pictured below). These interruptions in breathing are called apneas. People who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea commonly experience excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, abrupt awakenings, and reduced work performance. Obstructive sleep apnea can also bring about other issues including hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and depression, which when paired with sleep apnea, can be associated with increased mortality.
Breathing During Sleep
Another condition that can be brought about by obstructive sleep apnea is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux. GERD can be described as burning pain in the chest after eating. The occurrence of GERD in obstructive sleep apnea patients is significantly higher than the general population. In addition to treating sleep apnea, studies have also shown that a continuous airway pressure (CPAP) device can also help to reduce the symptoms of GERD.
Risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea include obesity, age, gender, menopause, alcohol use, smoking, and family history. An evaluation of 100 patients (84 men and 16 women) with an average age of 50 years showed how common it is for obstructive sleep apnea patients to suffer from other ailments. Hypertension is the most common condition that can be caused by obstructive sleep apnea with 39% of the 100 patients afflicted. Nearly half of all hospital patients who suffer from hypertension also have obstructive sleep apnea. Other notable conditions include obesity, which affects 34%, depression which affects 19%, and GERD which affects 18% of the 100 patients. More statistics can be seen at the top of the page.
56.2% of patients faced simultaneous conditions due to obstructive sleep apnea. Whether or not a patient suffers from more than one condition depends on their lifestyle and risk factors. Obstructive sleep apnea can be a serious health risk if you feel that show some symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, consult with your physician. He or she will be able to evaluate you and possibly test for obstructive sleep apnea or another sleep disorder.
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